So 2018 has arrived, and we’re already 30 days in from when the New Year was over. As human resources (HR) managers, it is important to not only look to future trends but also HR challenges in 2017. As the saying goes, “Those who do not learn history are condemned to repeat it.”
Reviewing challenges of the last year can give us valuable insight and information in how to better tackle challenges that may be on the horizon. This especially holds true for stumbling blocks from this year that will continue to stretch on into the future.
1) HR managers need to focus time (and money) on retention.
The first of the HR challenges in 2017 is that the unemployment rate in the United States continues to decline (currently at 4.1%). That means it’s an employees’ market. Employees, especially star workers, can be choosy about where they wish to work. This is a trend that will only continue into the future. In all likelihood, retention will continue to be an uphill climb for most companies. In a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 62% of HR professionals surveyed already report difficulties hiring qualified candidates.
The good news is that if we know this will continue to be an issue for the next few years, we can plan ahead. Now is the time to shuffle around budgets to throw money at this problem. This will depend on your specific situation, but offering competitive salaries and benefit packages, creating a robust onboarding for new employees, and building work/life balance programs might all work toward higher retention. For example, companies that budget 1% or more of payroll toward values-based recognition programs are twice as likely to see increased retention.
2) Employee turnover doesn’t have to be so high.
Past generation had long tenures at their careers, often working for the same company for decades. That is no longer. Millennials and Gen Z employees have gotten a bad rap for being ‘job hoppers’ – while not completely unearned, these employees are, in fact, becoming more likely to stay at their current jobs. A study of Deloitte carried out in 2017 found that only 38% of Millennials surveyed at plans to leave their current job within the next two years.
The good news is that HR challenges in 2017 can be overcome. In fact, 90% of Millennials surveyed said that they would stay in a job for the next 10 years of their employer could promise them two things: annual raises and upward career mobility.
The solution is simple: create a culture of promotion-from-within, offer paths to meet career goals, and pay employees competitively.
3) Entice Millennials by showing them the ‘why’.
Millennials are now officially the largest living generation, according to Pew Research. Organizations that are going to be competitive into the future are going to find ways to appeal to this generation. The recession of 2009 invariably shaped the desires of the Millennial workforce. As they entered the workforce, they faced unemployment at rates that hadn’t been seen since the Great Depression. Many Millennials struggled to find work and as a result, they began to look for satisfaction in their work that wasn’t merely defined by their salaries.
In short, Millennials want to work for organizations that are making a difference. They want to feel like they are contributing to something larger than themselves. They want to work for companies that they feel passionately about. And this is great news! Engaged Millennial employees are enthusiastic brand ambassadors that will spread the good word on social media and to their friends.62% of #HRProfessionals surveyed already report difficulties #Hiring qualified #Candidates. Click To Tweet
If you’re a for-profit corporation, it might seem impossible to offer Millennials this “we’re changing the world” feeling, but it can be done. This can work on two levels – firstly, you want your employees to know how their position contributes to the greater good of the organization. They need to understand how even the most seemingly unimportant or disconnected job matters. Secondly, you want to ensure that your employees understand how the organization contributes to the greater good of your community. This could be in charitable donations, volunteer time, or a cause the organization supports. It could even be a volunteering policy you develop for your employees so they can support a cause themselves.
With Millennials as the largest generation, and therefore the largest workforce, it is not only important, but mandatory for organizations to learn to captivate Millennials and earn their enthusiasm. As far as HR challenges in 2017, this is just the beginning of learning to engage younger generations.
4) It’s a gig world and we’re just living in it.
The gig economy is 34% of the workforce and is project to expand to 43% by 2020, according to Intuit. In fact, an average organization’s workforce is made up of only 54% traditional, full-time employees with the rest either contract/freelance workers or remote or part-time employees.
However, that being said, short-term and contract work are becoming ubiquitous. There is a definite shift from “I need to hire someone to fill this position job” to “I need to hire someone to complete this project.”
However, this shift away from hiring for full-time positions puts organizations in a unique position with the need to communicate with employees that might be in different places and even different time zones. While this can mean that organizations can be productive 24 hours a day with employees working around the world, but it comes with its own pitfalls. Technology is often the solution here – communication platform like emplo can help bridge the gap between cubicles and offices to bring employees together digitally when they can’t be together physically.
5) It’s time to plan to support older employees.
Aside from the fact that no organization wants to be accused of age discrimination, but supporting older workers is now critically important to both the success of individual employees as well as organizations. The big ‘brain drain’ that was predicted with the retirement of the Baby Boomer hasn’t happened as Boomers continue to work into their ‘retirement’ years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by this coming year, a quarter of the workforce will be 55 years or older. However, HR challenges in 2017 can transition into the future – and this is one of them as the Boomer workforce continues to age, this will be a crucial aspect for success.An average #Organization’s #Workforce is made up of only 54% traditional, full-time #Employees. Click To Tweet
Expect to spend more in healthcare, employee sick pay, and life insurance benefits, but also expect to leverage the knowledge, skills, and expertise of a generation that has been at the helm of the workforce for decades.
Did you experience any HR challenges in 2017 we didn’t discuss? Let us know in the comments.